Laser Integration for track and trace asset management’s primary purpose is to control and protect vital assets, preventing their theft, making sure they are in the correct place, assuring they are available as key components or parts (sub-assemblies) for large operations, and assuring accurate and timely maintenance procedures are followed. In previous articles, we have discussed use of laser track and trace (laser e-pedigree) for product control and warranty/counterfeit protection.
Common items for asset management with track and trace Laser Integration systems are:
- Machine tools
- Sub systems or sub-assemblies, which are critical components of larger systems.
- Molds and dies
- Containers and transfer buckets
- Storage and holding tanks
- IT Equipment
- Office furniture and associate equipment
- Equipment and tools for remote job sites
- Equipment and tools for field service
In this article, we will explore how Laser Integration for track and track can provide the required asset management. Thus, reducing manufacturing costs while protecting products, manufactures, and consumers.
Laser Integration for Track and Trace Asset Management Introduction
Major systems are often composed or built from many smaller highly valuable and movable assets. It is necessary to keep track of the component asset. Facilities that refine fuels, such as fuel, natural gas, and propane, have many storage tanks and vehicles for moving the hoses, clamps, pipes, firefighting equipment, spill cleanup items, and other assets. What these assets have in common include:
- Critical for operations.
- Need to have secure relatively easy to find location.
- Need to be easily and quickly identified for proper utilization.
- Keep track of assets across multiple offices and/or plants.
- Ability to schedule asset use :
- Determine where an asset is.
- Determine how long the asset is scheduled to be at current location
- Schedule the asset to required location, after current project, or have the ability to look for another asset of the same type elsewhere in the system.
Laser Integration track and track asset management systems consists of software, vision systems, or hard held reading devices (even cell phone applications). These are used for reading and verifying the bar codes and databases to track assets, from the time of their purchase and entry to a company, until and completely through the assets retirement. Procedures for the following functions are also critical to successful asset tracking programs. These functions need to be present in the data base with the laser printed serial number and/or bar code acting as the license plate pointing to the assets location and information in the data base.
- Logging when assets are removed from a central store or location
- The new location of the asset and how long is the asset to stay there
- Any maintenance interval or for measurement equipment the interval for recalibration procedure or time frame must be entered
The initial steps to set up asset tracking involve identification of the assets for tracking, specially:
- What is it you wish to track (which items)
- Identification of those items:
- Laser etching a unique bar code or serial number.
- Laser etching a hard label or manufacturing tag which is permanently affixed to the asset.
- It might be helpful to take pictures of the asset.
- Record any warranty requirements, expiration dates, and any required.
- Generally a starting or beginning inventory is taken.
These key items and other data, as required or desired, are entered to the database and the asset assigned the key which ties it to the laser marked identification on the product.
Laser Integration with Track and Trace Asset Management Functionality
As we have seen asset track and trace basically consists of three main areas of functionality:
- Documenting assets.
- Locating and identifying the assets by location (department – even down to section of department tied to building layout or floor plan/building/plant/MFG line in plant or combination of all the above).
- Tacking the movement of assets through the system.
Some of the major benefits of Laser Integration track and track for asset management are:
- Purchases (what has been purchased and source along with date and exact cost) can be recorded.
- Details of any services performed or required.
- Schedule with alters any required maintenance, warranty, or replacement activity.
- Values of assets for accounting purposes can be easily calculated and depreciation amounts calculated.
- Costs can be controlled.
- Capital expenditures can be controlled, analyzed and corrected tied to projects for tracking and management reporting.
Laser Integration Functionality for Track and Trace Asset Management
Laser Integration is the best method to identify assets tied to track and trace system. As integration and laser marking provide the following significant advantages:
- Permanent and indelible marking on products of bar codes, which can be marked in any format. These markings are easily and quickly readable with cell phone applications, hand held readers, and fixed mount vision systems. This along with human readable text and unique serial numbers.
- Laser systems allow for marking or etching of assets without contact and without the risk of damage to the asset or smearing/running of the identifying mark.
- Lasers can be used for direct assets marking, or for marking of manufacturing tags which are adhered to the asset.
- Laser automation can be movable or mobile allowing the marking of assets in remote locations such as storage yards. They can also be spread throughout the grounds of large facilities, such as refineries, airports, military bases, etc.
- Laser automation comes in different platforms or wavelengths that provide the ability to mark many different types of products and surfaces. It is important to pick the laser platform which allows direct part marking for most of the most valuable (difficult to mark) assets allowing the rest of the asset base to be marked with non-removal metalized or foil labels.
- Laser marking removes inks, chemicals, and solvents from the asset identification process, which provides the most eco-friendly green manufacturing environment possible.
WLSC’s Use of Laser Integration for Track and Trace Asset Management
Recently a WLSC customer, in the refining industry and with multiple drilling platforms, worked with WLSC to provide Laser Integration for track and trace asset management. We helped to keep control of and provide tracking for the various assets involved in or necessary for successful drilling operations.
This customer had experienced problems or issues related to asset management such as:
Purchase of excess or unnecessary assets due to lack of visibility on existing assets. In these situations, when a new drilling platform was open or when certain operations were performed on drilling platforms requiring certain assets the inability to quickly and effectively search an interactive live data base for specific asset location, search availability caused purchase of items creating redundancy with the attendant extra unnecessary expense, and search production delivery delays caused by long purchase lead times.
These issues were resolved with the establishment of laser marking on key assets and the establishment of a database related to the laser marks. Company managers are now able to query the asset data base for the type, serial number, or description of the asset required and find out instantly if the asset exists the company inventory, the location, maintenance status, and availability of the asset so costs are significantly reduced, assets are utilized to the maximum, and production scheduled can be maintained.
Lack of an asset tracking database and Laser Integration marking system allowed existing assets to become obsolete or unusable due to:
- Maintenance procedures not being completed on a timely or as required basis.
- Assets falling out of warranty and/or aging and not being replaced as required.
- Calibration of equipment not taking place on required schedules rending the equipment function and readings to be unreliable and/or unusable.
These issues were eliminated with the asset management track and trace system allowing for much more efficient manufacturing (drilling) operations, significantly reducing manufacturing costs and providing great assistance in meeting regulatory requirements.
About WLSC Laser Integration
WLSC was founded in July of 1986. We operate out of our Gilbert AZ 85233 main office and manufacturing facility. We have been providing Laser Integration to industry leaders for 32 years. Our mission is to reduce manufacturing costs, protect products and consumers, and provide eco-friendly green manufacturing environments with the use of Laser Integration and automated systems. At WLSC, we partner with customers and end users to resolve manufacturing problems, eliminate production bottlenecks, and provide tools to safely effectively speed products and goods to consumers. We look forward to hearing from you and working together. At WLSC we know LASERS!